An article titled "Ajimobi abandons Penkelemesi’s grandson for ‘God-fearing’ Tegbe" and dated September 11, 2018, recently appeared online, and there lies no better time to pen a thought about the quite intriguing Oyo 2019 gubernatorial race, judging by the content of the said article.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo state has received a broad beam of focus in the past few months. Top of the reasons for this is the array of options the party has lined up for its 2019 gubernatorial slot to succeed Governor Abiola Ajimobi.
Notably and for the first time, the party, and by extension the state, has an embarrassment of choices made up of more professionals brimming with ideas, and less career politicians from the quite infamous abula school of thought that Oyo was erstwhile known for.
The aspirants themselves, a former CBN deputy governor, a KPMG executive, a secretary to the state government, a couple of business magnates, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, and a couple of ranking cabinet members, in the race to outshine each other, have been engaged in what can be truly regarded as an intriguing war of optics, ideas and consultations around the state.
People have argued that this drift in quality of candidates cannot be unconnected to the quality of governance the incumbent has tried to entrench in his two terms.
For what it's worth, one can argue that Oyo state in the last 7 years, has truly grown to become a 4-star investment friendly state in Nigeria. Governor Ajimobi seems to have brought the state from a valley of misappropriation to becoming one of Nigeria’s most investment-friendly states according to the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC).
A free trade zone, an ongoing construction of a 4000-hectare industrial park, and the approval for the establishment of a modern dry port in different parts within the state, have been said to be topmost in the panoply of investments that earned Ajimobi's Oyo this ranking that ticks the box of socioeconomic development to an objective extent.
For a governor who has achieved these, it is an expected outcome that he will be definitely concerned about who succeeds him, as it is predictably so, that his interest should be the continued development of the state, and not covering of tracks.
Like every other human, Governor Ajimobi is not perfect. What is however very clear is that a tone for the development of modern Oyo state has been set and there are no tracks to cover. The desire to have a God-fearing man and brilliant mind to further steer the affairs of the state when he leaves office, is definitely not out of place.
Like a Professor of Management, David Ulrich, once said, “Succession planning doesn’t start with people; it starts with the requirements of the position.”
While Joseph Olasunkanmi Tegbe, the KPMG one, has a long standing relationship with incumbent Governor Ajimobi, he is a globally recognized consultant with an experience that cuts across various sectors of the Nigerian economy, and has provided advisory services to governments at federal and state levels since 1999. He is a man who has been well known for his integrity and commitment to work. He has also done the same outside Nigeria.
It is factually incorrect to sway his gubernatorial interest as one hinged on covering tracks. The facts do not support this claim. The governor's interest in the man, either true or not, is why stakeholders like myself in Oyo state have been endeared to the possibility of having the KPMG partner become the next governor of Oyo state. These are the true facts - that the man, Tegbe, has brewed public love because of his competence.
He is known to have consistently expressed his plan to consolidate on the gains of the Ajimobi government in order to deliver sustainable development in the state. It will be a disservice to the people and the socio-economic improvement Oyo state has enjoined in the last seven years, to support any less qualified candidate whose antecedent remains questionable.
The governorship race in Oyo state has become one to watch closely.
- Adediwura is a blogger and a post graduate student of University of Ibadan.